I can remember being young and having fun playing with my toys. Being at a young age, I never concerned myself with anything I played with was dangerous to me. The danger/risk was there but I had adults around me making sure my toys were safe to play with. Today, the adults are taking the form of government as the product known as Buckyballs, high-powered desktop toys, are being stopped from being sold anymore. Though the toys are meant for adults, some young children have swallowed the very small magnets and getting hurt. Also, teens that are using the magnetic balls to mimic their tongues of being pierced, have ingested the magnets and end up getting sick.
In an article from The Star, it is reported that the Consumer Product Safety Commission decided to file an administrative complaint against the manufacturer of Buckyballs. Despite this, the company refused to recall the product and forced the agency to try other means, such as trying to persuade retailers to not sell the product. They achieved some success as 10 retailers, including Amazon, stopped selling Buckyballs to the public. Crying foul, New-York based Maxfield and Oberton, manufacturer of Buckyballs, called the actions of the agency “unfair, unjust and un-American.” In addition, Craig Zucker, founder of the company, pointed out that his products are clearly marketed to young adults age 14 and older with clear warning labels to keep them away from kids.
Despite the so-called warning labels, the CPSC has reported at least a dozen children, since 2009, have swallowed the magnets and resulted in some needing surgeries. One such child, 12 year-old Sabrina Lopez from California, was talking with her mother about how her friend introduced her in using Bucky balls to mimic tongue piercings. While she was twisting her tongue with the balls in her mouth, she accidentally swallowed them and had to be rushed to urgent care. X-rays taken showed she had swallowed four magnets and had to be rushed in for emergency surgery . Her mother had said the experience was extremely frightening and that she could have died.
The complaint that was filed by the commission says that the problem comes from the powerful magnets getting stuck in the gastrointestinal walls, which can lead to perforations that can cause serious injury or death. Maxfield and Oberton’s Zucker said they will fight the compliant and that they were very surprised the agency has filed the complaint. “We worked with the commission in order to do an education video less than 9 months ago, so we are shocked they are taking this action.”
Based on the ruling of the administrative judge, the CPSC winning could compel Maxfield to stop its’ sales of Buckyballs. However, even if Zucker loses, he can still appeal to either the agency’s four commissioners or head to federal court. Most likely in cases with product recalls, the commission will negotiate with the company and work out some agreement. Incidentally, the last time an administrative compliant was filed by the agency against a company was back in 2001 regarding a BB gun case.
Save BuckyBalls Magnets
The CPSC is busting Buckyballs, and trying to keep ’em out of your hands. We’re working hard to make sure Buckyballs stay on the market.